Wasps RFC talked to the Coventry and Warwick captains ahead of this Sunday’s Varsity finale at the Ricoh Arena
Rugby rivalries are usually put to one side after the final whistle, but all of that is about to change when Wasps take on Gloucester.
That’s because following the Aviva Premiership clash at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday 26 February (1pm kick-off), the men’s rugby teams from Coventry University and the University of Warwick will go head-to-head in the final of the annual Varsity tournament (3.15pm kick-off).
Last year’s Varsity clash at the Ricoh Arena ended in dramatic fashion as Warwick scored a last-gasp try from a line-out to win the game 22-20 after Coventry kicked the ball out thinking the game was up.
Current University of Warwick captain Ed Wilkinson scored the winning points that day, and is looking for a better performance from his side this year.
The 21-year-old said: “the form book had us down as favourites to win last year but we didn’t play well on the day and nearly lost, so we’ll be looking to put on a better performance this time around.
“It’s not every day that students get the chance to play at state of the art venues that generate so much noise, so I feel really lucky to be going back for a second time.
“Wasps player Craig Hampson helps out with the coaching every Monday and Friday and has been giving us a few pointers on different ways we can play and prepare for matches, so come match day we’re confident that we’ll be ready.”
The Varsity tournament is now in its 27th year and has never been won by Coventry University – a record that captain Ryan Conyard is looking to change.
The rugby match is the final Varsity fixture between the two universities, and depending on scores between the two universities in other sports, the overall winner could be decided at the Ricoh Arena.
Ryan added: “we’re undefeated so far this year and the size of the Ricoh Arena pitch is well-suited to our style of wide and expansive rugby.
“We still have a few of the lads with us who narrowly lost out last year, including myself, so we’re determined to right those wrongs and grasp the opportunity while confidence is high.
“The thought of making history and becoming the first ever team to bring home the title is added motivation for us, and we can’t wait to get out onto the pitch.”
Rory Prentice, marketing executive at Wasps, said: “we have great relationships with both universities, so we were delighted to have been able to invite both teams to play again this year.
“Both teams have some exciting players and have contrasting styles of play so it’s going to be a game that’s tough to call.”
Warwick University students can purchase tickets by logging on to www.warwicksu.com to get the university exclusive £10 ticket offer.